Kite-Powered Ship Sets Sail

Friday, January 25, 2008
A newly built cargo vessel was towed by wind propulsion of the Hamburg-based company SkySails on the North Sea near Bremerhaven, Germany for the first time. The 160m2 SkySails supported the main engine of the 132m long Multi Purpose Heavy Lift Carrier MS Beluga SkySails of the Bremen-based Beluga Shipping with approx. five tons tractive force at low wind. The cargo ship will set off from Bremen to Venezuela and gain first experiences with the new system during the maiden voyage.

Parallel and in addition to the practical tests on the MS Beluga SkySails, the SkySails technology is advanced and optimized for series production readiness on further ships. The shipping company and the manufacturer calculate that by using the towing kite system, a ship’s average annual fuel costs can be reduced by 10 to 35%, depending on the prevailing wind conditions. Under optimal wind conditions, SkySails estimates that fuel consumption can temporarily be cut by up to 50%. The first results are to be expected in the next few months.

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